Avengers 5 Can Be Kang's Perfect Pay-Off... If He Kills 2 MCU Icons

Kang can become an ever bigger MCU villain than Thanos in The Avengers 5 - but only if he kills two beloved characters. First making his presence felt in 2012's The Avengers, Thanos simmered in the background of Marvel's Phase 1 & 2 slates before finally emerging in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. Phase 4 hasn't exactly rushed to replace the Mad Titan, but the leading contender right now is undoubtedly Kang the Conqueror, portrayed by Jonathan Majors.

Kang's tale began with Loki on Disney+. Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief - alongside female variant, Sylvie - pulled back the Time Variance Authority's dark curtain, revealing He Who Remains (played by Majors) as the puppet master. Mr. Remains explained how one of his 31st century variants cracked the multiverse's secrets and met parallel selves from other worlds, but while some of these alternates were simply curious scientists looking to further their inter-dimensional knowledge, others - specifically Kang the Conqueror - used their power to dominate and oppress rival realities.

Related: Doctor Strange 2 Theory: Kang Inspired The MCU Illuminati

Though He Who Remains managed to fix the timelines and remove Kang from play, Loki and Sylvie (more Sylvie, if we're honest) removed the one safeguard holding back the flood. Kang will next feature in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, and if The Avengers 5 does happen in Phase 5 or beyond, Majors' villain occupies pole position to torment Earth's mightiest heroes. Kang in The Avengers 5 would be the greatest possible payoff to his monumental introduction, but to become a serious threat, there are two MCU characters he must kill first...

Kevin Feige set himself an awfully high bar with Thanos. The Avengers' very first uber-villain wiped out half of all life across the entire MCU, whilst becoming a mainstream cultural icon on the outside. Marvel's Phase 4 has thus far restricted itself to smaller, self-contained villains (odd as it may be to call Celestials small-scale...) but, sooner or later, there will be another overarching MCU baddie. When such a villain does arise, the inevitable comparisons to Thanos will swarm forth like Wakandan warriors from Doctor Strange's magic portal. Marvel Studios can only beat those parallels by going so undeniably bigger, any suggestions of inferiority to Thanos are snapped out of existence.

Exceeding the ridiculously high expectations set by Thanos is perhaps the loftiest hurdle any future Avengers 5 movie must overcome. It's probably also why Avengers 5 is only a possibility, not a nailed-on certainty. Though quite a few names from Marvel lore wield enough gravitas to fit that criterial - Galactus, Mephisto, Doctor Doom - Kang the Conqueror is one currently waiting in the wings.

Loki's He Who Remains was only a variant, rather than the real deal, but Jonathan Majors' erratic, unhinged performance not only promised a very different threat to Thanos, but a more dangerous, unpredictable one. As effective as Josh Brolin's CGI Thanos performance proved to be, Jonathan Majors' live-action Kang the Conqueror brings a more human, tangible brand of evil to the MCU.

Related: Infinity War Theory Reveals Thor Deliberately Lost To Thanos At The Beginning

The MCU's Infinity saga was happening before anyone even knew it was happening. The Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger, Nick Fury realizing his "idea" in Iron Man - all a prelude to Thanos emerging as Loki's benefactor in The Avengers. From there it was full steam ahead for the Infinity Express - the Reality Stone in Thor: The Dark World, the Power Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy, HYDRA's Mind Stone research, the Time Stone in Doctor Strange...

Showing the very same rampant disregard for subtlety, Marvel is now repeating that process with a multiverse war. Scarlet Witch created her own universe in Westview, Loki and Sylvie unleashed Kang, then Spider-Man: No Way Home joined hands with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to trample right across the fabric of reality. Before Phase 4 comes to a close, you can bet Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania will twist the knife further. Just as Infinity Stones provided the running spine of MCU Phases 1-3, the breaking of the multiverse plays the same role for Phases 4-5, potentially building toward Kang as The Avengers 5's multiverse villain.

The MCU multiverse war carries enough potential to surpass even Marvel's lauded Infinity saga. For all his finger-snapping, Vision-cracking antics, Thanos' focus laid squarely upon a single universe. Not to discount the death and destruction he wrought, but when the Purple One's crimes are considered against the context of a larger multiverse, that "half of all life" claim begins to look like some politician-level stat massaging. Instead, imagine a villain even more depraved and callous than the Mad Titan, seeking to crush not just one universe - but all of them. That's what Kang the Conqueror could potentially bring to Avengers 5 - a catalog of different realities all commanded by a single omnipotent villain. Thanos would look positively amateurish in comparison, and What If...?'s Infinity Ultron already demonstrated just how out of his depth Thanos would be against a multiversal opponent.

When the collective heroes of the MCU assembled against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, shivers were sent down spines. Some audiences might've even applauded, if you live in a country that does that kind of thing. A multiverse war against Kang doesn't just bring together heroes of the MCU, but Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men, the X-Men, parallel Avenger variants, ALLIGATOR LOKI!!! The potential for narrative expansion is truly endless, and while such a wild coagulation of contradictory superhero franchises would run the risk of devolving into an absolute mess, everyone said the same about Avengers: Endgame once...

Related: The Avengers Movies Damaged Marvel's Infinity Saga Plan & The MCU's Future

Plainly, then, Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror can ride his MCU train from Loki all the way through to The Avengers 5, making a quick stop as Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. But it took Thanos more than just years of foreshadowing and a flashy glove to become the MCU's biggest threat. Josh Brolin barged his way into cinematic infamy by killing several major MCU figures before the snap even happened. Heimdall, Loki, Vision - all fell to the Mad Titan early, establishing Thanos as an unstoppable force. For Kang the Conqueror to surpass Titan's maddest son in the hallowed halls of MCU arch-villains, he too must spill the blood of some fan favorites. Two names spring to mind - Paul Rudd's Ant-Man, and Tom Hiddleston's Loki.

Part of the MCU since 2015, Scott Lang will be almost a decade into his superhero career by the time he faces Kang in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. Three solo movies, two team-ups, and one animation is a strong showing for any Marvel actor, and Rudd may be pondering when the right time to bow out may be. Kang's arrival could be that time. From the Conqueror's perspective, Scott Lang poses a bigger threat than any Avenger without the surname Strange. T'was Lang, lest we forget, who provided the means to defeat Thanos. And if He Who Remains once defeated Kang by consolidating the multiverse into a "Sacred Timeline," Ant-Man's mastery of the Quantum Realm could let him perform a similar trick.

Scott Lang straddling his last insect in 2023 makes a worrying amount of sense. Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania would get an emotional kick, as well as a wider MCU relevance that Ant-Man's past two solo efforts lacked. Meanwhile, a recast Cassie Lang is already primed to assume her father's mantle. Thanos had audacity, sure, but he never murdered a superhero in his own film - especially one as beloved as Scott Lang. Few deaths could make audiences hate Kang more ahead of The Avengers 5.

Kang the Conqueror's second casualty should then be Loki in his Disney+ series. Following the end of Loki season 1, Tom Hiddleston's redeemed, loved-up God of Mischief is the only MCU character aware of the threat Kang poses - interesting given how Thor was among the first Avengers to foresee Thanos' arrival. Loki season 2 will surely see Hiddleston and Majors do battle, positioning them as fated enemies facing off across the multiverse. Given how Jonathan Majors is only just beginning his MCU story and Tom Hiddleston is a veritable veteran, however, Loki's chances of victory are less than favorable. There's a touching resonance to Loki fighting Kang single-handed before falling short and leaving the battle to Thor's Avenger pals, and a cool comparison to how previous big bad, Thanos, killed Loki's last MCU variant.

Related: Doctor Strange 2's Trailer Makes Loki's Kang Reveal More Confusing

Loki's romance with Sylvie, and that beautiful friendship with Mobius made him an incredibly sympathetic character. Dying in a valiant attempt to protect the multiverse from Kang would devastate Marvel's audience, and ensure the villain arrives in Avengers 5 even more despised than Donna from Moon Knight. With the blood of Ant-Man and Loki on his hands, Kang facing Marvel's finest in The Avengers 5 becomes more than just a fight for the multiverse... but a deeply personal vendetta.

More: Kang's Phase 4 Multiverse Introduction Creates A Problem For Avengers 5

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